First Violet

Comfort in a cold spring

Common Blue Violet

It's been a startlingly cold spring here in southeast Iowa. The ephemeral flowers of the woods have been stalled for weeks now, barely breaking ground.

I've been nudging the occasional purple bud of violets in hopes of seeing an open flower.

At last this morning the sun came up and came out. As if in celebration, a few violets in the woods ventured to open a bud or two and turn their faces upward.

Full common name:
Common Blue Violet

Scientific name:
Viola pratincola

Host plant for butterflies

I'm not the only one in my woods who prowls about looking for violets. Fritillary butterflies need them also. But it is not the beauty of the purple color that attracts the butterflies. It's the leaves, which feed the caterpillars of these butterflies. The Greater Fritillary Butterfly is entirely dependent on violets as food source for its larval stage.

— Diane Porter, Fairfield, Iowa, April 21,2022

See more of Diane's blogposts about plants